Question: Does Radiation Affect Breast Implants?

Do I really need radiation after lumpectomy?

Radiation therapy is recommended to most people who have lumpectomy (lumpectomy plus radiation is sometimes called breast-preservation surgery).

Radiation attempts to destroy any cancer cells that may have been left in the breast after the tumor was removed..

Does radiation cause capsular contracture?

When radiation is needed, the risk of capsular contracture and deformity of the breast increases. Capsular contracture occurs if the scar or capsule around the implant begins to tighten. Capsular contracture can be treated in several ways, and sometimes requires either removal or scoring of the scar tissue.

Will I need reconstruction after lumpectomy?

Most plastic surgeons recommend that you wait at least 6 months to 1 year after lumpectomy before having any surgical reconstruction. This allows your tissues to heal and allows any distortion or asymmetry to stabilize.

Do breast implants get hard over time?

No, breast implants do not always harden over time. Instead, this hardening of the implants is a condition known as “capsular contracture.” This condition is a complication that is possible after any breast augmentation surgery, but it’s not very common.

What happens if you don’t massage breast implants?

It’s a complication called capsular contracture, and in its most serious forms, it can cause hardening of the breast, asymmetry between the breasts, and even deformities like “double bubble,” when there’s a clear, easily distinguishable line between the implant and the rest of the breast.

How do you prevent capsular contracture after radiation?

This is called capsular contracture. Research has shown that implants with a textured surface can help reduce the risk of capsular contracture compared to implants with a smooth surface. Radiation therapy given after reconstruction surgery can increase the risk of a scar tissue capsule forming.

Why do implants drop?

The “drop” refers to implants gradually moving down and out until they settle in a more natural position. This happens as the breast skin stretches, the surrounding muscles relax, and inflammation subsides.

How do you make implants drop faster?

Since breasts are almost never symmetric, the implant in the one with more space (a longer nipple to inframammary crease distance) will usually drop faster. Sometimes we will give a patient a breast band to wear across the top-most part of the upper poles that can help push the implants down.

How can I help my breast implants drop?

As the muscles relax over the course of four to six weeks, the implant starts to “drop” behind the muscle wall into a more natural position. It is not uncommon for one side to relax faster than the other. There are techniques that can be used to speed the relaxation process, such as medication and massage.

Can you have a breast implant following radiation?

A new study finds that women who have implant reconstruction following radiation therapy had more complications from the surgery and were less satisfied with the result than women who had implants but no radiation.

How do you reverse capsular contracture?

One of the most efficient ways to help reduce your risk and possibly even reverse capsular contracture is daily breast massage. You should massage your breasts for 5 minutes two to three times a day during the first two months after surgery.

How long does it take for a lumpectomy to heal?

Healing time after surgery can range anywhere from a few days to a week. After a lumpectomy without a lymph node biopsy, you’re likely to feel well enough to return to work after two or three days. You can usually resume normal physical activities, like going to the gym, after one week.

Does insurance pay for reconstruction after lumpectomy?

Breast reconstruction procedures should be covered by your health insurance plan, whether they are done right away, soon after mastectomy/lumpectomy, or many years later. This includes procedures that may be needed over time to refine the reconstructed breast and/or to create symmetry (balance) between the two breasts.

How do I keep my breast implants from dropping?

If you’ve got implants, you need a great bra. This helps limit the impact that gravity has on your breasts and prevents premature sagging. Choose bras that fit and give your augmented breasts the support they need. Wear a bra as much as you can (some women even choose to wear a sleep bra at night).

How do you know if your breast implant is encapsulated?

Grade 3: Grade three capsular contracture presents itself with obvious cosmetic symptoms. The breasts will be firm to the touch and appear abnormal, e.g., they will be overly round, hard-looking and the nipples may be misshapen. However, this grade of capsular contraction often doesn’t cause much (if any) pain.

How long can you live with capsular contracture?

The symptoms are tightness and the feeling of something hard on the chest that can feel hard when you lay on it. Sometimes, there is continuous discomfort. Short of this, many women have lived for 20-30 years with a contracture.

How do you know if you have a capsular contracture?

Symptoms of capsular contracture usually emerge slowly and may first be noticed as a high-riding or misshapen breast. As firmness increases, the breasts may feel tight or even painful, especially when you are lying on them. The breasts can appear very round, almost “ball-like,” and visible rippling may also occur.

How long after radiation can I have breast reconstruction?

The breast reconstruction is usually completed about 4 to 6 months after radiation. The timing of breast reconstruction is one of the most discussed topics in reconstruction research.

What happens to your breast after radiation?

Radiotherapy to the breast or under the arm can cause hardening of the tissue. This is known as fibrosis. If the fibrosis is severe, the breast can become noticeably smaller as well as firmer. This is rare but may happen several months or years after radiotherapy has finished.

What type of breast reconstruction is best?

Implant and flap surgery are the two major types of breast reconstruction. Flaps make use of a woman’s own tissue to reconstruct the breast. Flaps offer a larger, softer breast. The best candidates for implants tend to be smaller, thinner women.

How long do breast implants last?

The FDA estimates that breast implants should last at least ten years. Studies have shown that some breast implants last much longer than that and others much less. Rupture isn’t the only problem that requires surgery. Over time, breast implants can change shape.